A recent survey conducted by Safesearch shows that universities are failing to keep up with demand for workplace safety professionals.

The survey showedn that a large majority of respondents highlighted the importance of qualifications in this increasingly complex area.

Safesearch Managing Director Julie Honore said this was misaligned with the limited availability of bachelor-level OHS qualifications.

WorkSafe Victoria is looking to appoint a new Chief Executive, following the resignation of Greg Tweedly earlier this month after the Victorian Government announced it would strip $470 million over four years from its budget to bolster general revenue.

The Federal Court has ordered an end to the ongoing nursing unprotected industrial action in Victoria, ending a week of ongoing stoppages that put strain on the state’s surgical capacity.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is urging changes to workplace laws that should improve job security, rights and protections for the millions of people in Australia in insecure work.

A recent survey has found that the exponential growth of environmental professionals has plateaued.

Justice Iain Ross AO has been appointed the new President of Fair Work Australia (FWA), succeeding Justice Geoffrey Giudice who steps down on 29 February. 


Since 2009 Justice Ross has been a Victorian Supreme Court judge and last year became President of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. He is also Chair of the Council of Australian Tribunals.  He has held positions with the Australian Council of Trade Unions and worked with the law reform commissions in New South Wales and Victoria. From 1994-2006 he was Vice President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.  


Concurrent with his FWA appointment, Justice Ross has also been appointed judge of the Federal Court. 


A further six FWA appointments have been made by the Government .  They are: 


Deputy President

Anna Booth - Deputy President based in NSW. Ms Booth is an experienced facilitator, accredited mediator, mentor, trainer and owner/director of CoSolve Pty Ltd which specialises in workplace facilitation and mediation services.  She is also the current non-executive Chair of the board of Slater and Gordon and a member of Industry Super entities.  She has previously held senior positions with Star City and Sydney Harbour Casino as well as the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, the Clothing and Allied Trades Union and the ACTU. She has served on various Boards including the Commonwealth Bank from 1990-2000. 


Gregory Smith - Deputy President based in Victoria. A FWA Commissioner since 2009 and a Commissioner of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission since 1989, his previous roles embrace the Confederation of Australian Industry Industrial Council and the Meat and Allied Trades Federation of Australia. He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Business and Economics at Monash University. 



Geoff Bull - Commissioner in NSW.  Currently the Director of Workplace Relations for the Australian Mines and Metals Association, Mr Bull has held legal, policy and managerial positions with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA, BHP Billiton, Goldsworthy Mining and the WA Department of Productivity and Labour Relations. 


David Gregory - Commissioner in Victoria. Mr Gregory has been the Director of Workplace Policy at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry since 2009.  His previous employers have included the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Confederation of Australian Industry, News Limited, and the Victorian Employers’ Federation. 


Bernie Riordan - Commissioner in NSW. Since 1998 he has held positions in NSW with the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union, and the Electrical Trades Union of Australia. 


General Manager

Bernadette O’Neill - FWA General Manager.  Ms O’Neill has been acting FWA General Manager since September 2011. She was previously Director, Unfair Dismissals, FWA and has occupied a number of senior management and leadership roles with the Victorian Government. Earlier employers include Maurice Blackburn Cashman Lawyers and the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union.

The Victorian Government has announced it will shed hundreds of jobs from the Department of Human Services (DHS), which will form part of the 3,600 jobs that will be cut from the Victorian public service over the next two years.

The Fair Work Ombudsman has released guidance on entitlements and obligations regarding stand-down and redundancy under the Fair Work Act.

A new guide to help textile and clothing manufacturers comply with their legal obligations to workers has been released by labelling and accreditation organisation Ethical Clothing Australia.


The development of the guide is the latest initiative of Ethical Clothing Australia, which aims to help local businesses ensure that Australian workers making their products receive fair wages and work in decent conditions.


Ethical Clothing Australia’s national manager, Simon McRae, hopes the guide will be of practical assistance to the industry and help them to navigate their obligations under the Award.


“Many Australian manufacturers are operating in a difficult economic climate. We believe it’s important to support the businesses that are committed to manufacturing in Australia, and equip them with the tools they need to comply with their legal obligations to Australian workers,” Mr McRae said.


Given many manufacturers in the industry speak Chinese and Vietnamese, the guide to the Award has also been translated into these languages.


The 54 page guide is available free of charge via the Ethical Clothing Australia website; www.ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au

Unfair dismissals has become a key issue of contention in the current review of the Fair Work Act.

Employer groups have expressed unanimity in much of their criticism of the Fair Work Act in submissions to the current Fair Work Act Review.

Migrants have boosted Australia's workforce skills, with two-thirds of all working age migrants possessing academic or trade qualifications in 2010–11, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This is higher than the rate for people born in Australia (66% for migrants, 56% for Australian born).

The proportion of working age migrants who were at least 15 years old when they arrived in Australia and who had already completed a degree has tripled, rising from 15% in the early 1990s to 44% in the last five years.

Overall, 59% of people aged 15–64 years in Australia had a qualification compared with 51% in 2001. 

The unemployment rate in 2010-11 for people without a qualification was around double the rate for those with a qualification (7.3% compared with 3.4%).

When asked about the main impact of their highest qualification on their working life, about one-quarter (26%) said it assisted them in joining the workforce for the first time and 9% said it assisted them in getting a promotion or pay rise; however, 18% said their highest qualification had no impact.

Of the 11.2 million employed people, around half (51%) were working in a field that was relevant to their highest qualification, while 14% believed their qualification was not relevant and about a third (35%) had no qualification. 

Of the 14% of employed people (1.6 million) who reported that their highest qualification was not relevant to their current job, 29% stated this was because they were no longer interested in the field of their highest qualification.

More details are in Learning and Work, Australia, 2010–11 (cat. no. 4235.0).

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 per cent in January, as announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

The ABS reported the number of people employed increased by 46,300 to 11,463,900 in January. The increase in employment was driven by increased part-time employment, up 34,000 people to 3,400,800, and an increase in full-time employment, up 12,300 people to 8,063,100. The increase in seasonally adjusted part-time was driven by an increase in female part-time employment whereas the increase full time employment was driven by an increase in male full-time employment. 

The number of people unemployed decreased by 15,300 people to 614,200 in January, the ABS reported.

The ABS monthly aggregate hours worked series showed a decrease in January, down 23.1 million hours to 1,593.9 million hours.

The ABS reported an increase in the labour force participation rate of 0.1 percentage points in January to 65.3 per cent.

Recent reports have compared the annual growth in seasonally adjusted employment level estimates and have suggested 2011 is the year with the lowest employment growth since 1992. This neglects consideration that the growth in population estimates for 2011 was also the lowest in over 10 years. An alternative method of analysis that removes the effect of population growth is to compare average employment to population ratios for each year. In 2011, the employment to population ratio was 62.2%, which is the third highest rate of employment in the last 30 years, up 0.1 percentage points from 2010 and 6.1 percentage points higher than the low in 1992. Further information can be found in this months article 'Employment Level Estimates Versus Employment to Population Explained.' 

The most recent estimate of the seasonally adjusted underemployment rate was 7.3 per cent in November 2011 issue. Combined with November's unemployment rate of 5.3 per cent, the latest estimate of total seasonally adjusted labour force underutilisation was 12.6 per cent. For more information on underemployment and underutilisation, please refer to the article'Understanding Labour Force' which is published every month in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). 

More details are in the January 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), as well as the upcoming January 2012 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001) due for release next week on February 23. Both publications are available for free download (after release) from the ABS website - www.abs.gov.au.

The Federal Government has announced the first ever termination of a labour agreement after the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) revoked the rights of a Victorian on-hire company’s right to recruit 457 visa holders.

The Federal Government has introduced legislation before parliament that will require new participation requirements for Disapility Support Pension recipients who have some capacity to work.

Deloitte Access Economics has released a report on the economic cost of sleep disorders in Australia.

The Federal Government has announced $30 million in back pay for social and community services workers in Queensland as new regulations take effect.

Global management consultancy HayGroup has launched a new suite of online solutions for HR professionals and line managers.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has announced a round of voluntary redundancies that will see the agency shed up to 75 positions.

Sydney printing company Wongtas has been fined $20,000  by the Federal Court for discriminating against a pregnant worker by demoting and then sacking her.

Increased casualisation and job insecurity among working households has significantly undermined the housing security of low-to-moderate income home renters and buyers, research at RMIT University has shown.

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